Chambliss: 'Hormones' a factor in military sex assault

 
US military commanders assemble for a congressional hearing on recent sexual assault cases in Washington DC, 4 June 2013

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A US Republican senator has been criticised for telling a congressional hearing military sex assault is partly down to "hormone levels".

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss made the remark at a panel on the issue, attended by military top brass.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, called on him to apologise.

It comes after a wave of sex assault cases and Pentagon data showing a rise in cases, from groping to rape.

"The young folks that are coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23," Sen Chambliss told military commanders at Tuesday's hearing.

"Gee whiz, that's the level, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we've got to be very careful in how we address it on our side."

'Not about sex'

The senator added: "But guys, we're not doing our job. You're not doing yours and we're not doing ours with the rates that we are seeing on sexual assaults."

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This is not just absurd - it is outrageous”

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Senator Claire McCaskill, who has previously worked as a prosecutor on sex crimes, told the hearing "this isn't about sex".

"My years of experience in this area tell me they are committing crimes of domination and violence," the Missouri Democrat said.

After the hearing, Ms Wasserman Schultz took aim at Sen Chambliss.

"I think he should think about whether if, God forbid, a sexual assault happens to a daughter of his, would he think it's OK for a senator to just chalk the assault up to raging hormones," she told the MSNBC news channel.

Sen Chambliss' remarks came as other members of the Senate armed services committee expressed concern over the situation.

Senator John McCain said he could not "overstate my disgust and disappointment" over reports of sexual misconduct.

The Senate armed services committee is currently examining seven legislative proposals aimed at curbing the problem of sexual assault in the military.

One plan, put forward by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, calls for external special prosecutors to deal with military sexual assault cases, instead of continuing to let military commanders oversee the investigations.

But military commanders told Tuesday's hearing this would not be the right approach.

Senator Kay Hagan says no service person should have to fear assault

Some military leaders support a proposal from Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel that would stop commanders from overturning a military sexual assault verdict.

In recent weeks two military officers charged with curbing sexual assault in their ranks have been arrested for alleged abuse or harassment.

The Air Force has also been hit with allegations from dozens of female and male recruits that they were sexually harassed or raped by their instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon report released in May said 26,000 military personnel may have been sexually assaulted in 2012.

It said the number of reported incidents rose 6% to 3,374 in 2012, but that thousands more victims were unwilling to come forward.

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 76.

    I'm amazed that the man who has the power and authority to lay down the law to the U.S. military and hold the top brass accounatable for implementing a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual assault hasn't been more vocal on the subject. President Obama is the Commander in Chief, why hasn't he taken the top brass to the woodshed? Make a few examples and the rest will fall in line.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 74.

    We know rape is an act of a malevolent personality, but we keep on trying to ' ameoliorate' and 'theapuetically' treat the problem when what is needed is to lock them up for ever - I prefer shooting them!! Why should I continue to suffer paying their lunch??

  • rate this
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    Comment number 73.

    This is theater.Anyone in the outfit knows if there's a problem CID, et. al. will drop like a bomb.I have been going over FBI stats - (either we are at 1 out of a 100 or 1 out of a 1000) re: testimony - compare to uniform crime stats. Again, another 'have you stopped beating you wife' set up.This is crap to job the troops.P.S.if someone is convicted, of this, why aren't they destroyed??

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 72.

    It's frustrating to know that many people still think rape is about sex and that hormones have anything to do with it. This is the type of thinking that says every man should be treated as a potential rapist and that rapists aren't 100% responsible for their crime. Funny, I've known many males from childhood to adulthood that managed to never assault anyone, even with all their raging hormones.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 71.

    This is political theater. To what end I do not know. Every person present has advanced education. The Chief of Naval Operations' includes nuclear physics. Read the survey questions and extrapolation methods and you can see for yourself they cannot believe what they are saying. The survey questions and math don't support the conclusions. They all know it. Sex assault is wrong and this is an act.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 70.

    #68 The simplest mechanism would be for the victim to report the abuse direct to the Military Police. I've no experience of how the US Military Police perform but their British counterparts are terrifying. I saw how our Special Investigation unit handled a major drugs bust on a barracks I was serving in. The civillian police could learn a thing or two from these guys.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    68.blue
    30 Minutes ago
    What weak excuses. Its simple. They need to make it clear No to sexual advances or assault means NO!

    +++


    Changing USA's attitude to sexual assaults, its excuses and cover-ups is a massive task as it is so embedded in the culture.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 68.

    What weak excuses. Its simple. They need to make it clear No to sexual advances or assault means NO! They need to implement a staright forward procedure for reporting assaults, so that a trainee, officer, man or woman does not have to report the assault by their superior to their superior, thus affording the victim security and confidence to report the assault. Reports should be treated seriously.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 67.

    54. Twocups
    I repeat, killings of Iraqi and Afghani children by US troops are documented facts
    --
    Agreed. And in many cases the documents are the court martial papers used to punish them. Two british soldiers were sentenced yesterday for abuse. I'm denying nothing. What I find offensive are your blanket statements labelling all soldiers as like this.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 66.

    Technically, what he said was right, hormone levels do change over time and do influence behavior.
    They are no excuse for sexual assault however he never said they were, just that they can have an influence.
    He never said it was "OK" as Ms Wasserman Schultz said.
    The fact is that we're all animals with billions of years of survivalist evolution behind us and sometimes this surfaces in a bad way

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 65.

    Got to love how he is being attacked for chalking it up to raging hormones when he said "But guys, we're not doing our job. You're not doing yours and we're not doing ours with the rates that we are seeing on sexual assaults" right afterwards.

    Giving a reason is not the same as making an excuse.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 64.

    Just when you think the GOP has exhausted all possible stupid remarks.....

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 63.

    Is anyone really surprised that another republican lawmaker put his foot in his mouth? It is has become a pattern. Republicans are insensitive and out of touch with reality. Whether it is their comment about legitimate rape, or that it was God's Will that a woman is raped. Going around questioning president Obama's citizenship, believed he is Muslim and the list goes on.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 62.

    56.Kevin Morice
    18 Minutes ago
    @53 curtains
    Chambliss identifies the problem as gathering a large number of poorly educated, 17-22 year olds together and not putting additional preventive measures in place. This is likely to create an atmosphere where sexual assault rates rise.


    +++

    What excuse do you offer for the rate of rapes etc. in USA's places of tertiary education?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    Here is my take on the issue - am a female combat veteran and I don't see this issue going away anytime soon.
    http://tolerantpeople.com/2013/06/05/the-sexual-assault-issue-in-the-military/

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 60.

    56.Kevin Morice
    2 Minutes ago
    @53 curtains
    gathering a large number of poorly educated, 17-22 year olds together and not putting additional preventive measures in place. This is likely to create an atmosphere where sexual assault rates rise.

    This is the effect, not the cause.


    +++

    The cause is the USA's tradition that punishes the victim rather than the perpetrator.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 58.

    Anyone in a War Zone suffers mental damage as well as risk of physical damage. Patriotism is not about supporting Wars that Government deems OK you need to check facts about true cause not BS Government propaganda. TB is to blame with his partner in crime GWB about WMD not walk free spend blood money think it's funny

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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